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ATO warning: superannuation scams explained

Another day, another scam. In this article, Andrew Jeffers, CEO of Shuriken Consulting, exposes the tricks and scams and provides Probians a lifeline when in doubt.

There are always emails around claiming to be the ATO but the crooks are taking it up a notch.

One of the largest areas we have seen of late is in regard to superannuation.

Both ASIC and the ATO are warning Australians to be wary and always double check with your Accountant or Trusted Advisor. 

Scammers may target you online, by phone and/or email. 

The latest scams entail:

  • Someone telling you the need to set up a Self Managed Super Fund. They then perform the rollover for you into their own fraudulent account.
  • Offering early access to your super due to COVID.
  • Sending FAKE emails with FAKE links to steal identities and potentially access superannuation and your investments.
  • Fake threats claiming to be from the ATO, ASIO, Federal Government and or ASIC and requiring you to make payments for fake debts.
  • Investment fraud – making up fake investments and or share trading.

Like many email scams, the emails ask the recipient to take action such as clicking a link. The emails are increasingly sophisticated, on the surface often indistinguishable from official ATO communication or government departments.

Australians are being warned that these emails are a scam, and to err on the side of caution before opening or clicking unknown links. Clicking a link in the fraudulent emails often takes the recipient to another page where they are asked to fill in personal details, which are then stolen.

The scam emails can be identified in a number of ways.

  • The sender’s name in the ‘From’ field may be edited to look like an email address ending in ‘’. However, the genuine email address of the scammer, hidden from view, does not end in the correct suffix.
  • Other hints can include: no use of your name, poor-quality logo, poor spelling and grammar, or the message being unexpected.

The email scam is just one of many which may catch recipients unaware. The ATO has noted a surge in phone calls from scammers claiming to be officers from the ATO, demanding money and in some cases threatening legal action if money is not paid immediately.

“People of any age can be a target for scammers, so it is important to raise awareness among family and colleagues, and remain vigilant.”

If any of these things occurs just remember the 3 D's:

  • DOUBT – Be doubtful about emails, phone calls, and online prompting when it comes to your financial affairs.
  • DON’T – Do not provide personal information or click on links.
  • DO – Contact your Accountant or Advisor – they will help you 

Shuriken Consulting in conjunction with Pitcher Partners offer a range of services in Superannuation Management, Taxation & Accounting and Investment Advice. 

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